Battling Mental Health with Redemptive Entrepreneurship, Service, Humility, and Surrender 

by Emily Geiger

“My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”
Psalm 131:1-2

Entrepreneurs do not get enough credit. We hear about the success stories of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, but we can never fully understand the amount of work they put into their empire. They must have endured countless meetings, sleepless nights, and days packed with anxiety. Entrepreneurs can easily neglect their mental health if they are not careful. Entrepreneurship, in its nature, is stressful. Founders are constantly bombarded with risks, obstacles, disappointments and failures. Anyone with experience in the start-up world knows the necessity of caffeine and late nights to meet deadlines, reach goals, please stakeholders, and raise capital.

It is important to keep in mind the focus of “redemptive entrepreneurship” that is, the work of joining God in restoration through sacrifice, in venture building and innovation (Praxis Labs). How can we, as entrepreneurs, strive to implement this mindset? When you are working on your idea, it can quickly become like your child. You care for it, defend it, and take pride in it. Along with this pride, we can often think that a small dose of success will possibly provide immunity from the start-up graveyard. Then, if…or more likely WHEN…a failure comes our way, we hold onto the venture we cared so much for rather than let God guide us to another problem or opportunity. It is when we hold onto our pride that anxiety can overcome us. How can we learn to surrender our lives, INCLUDING our ideas, over to God. We think if we just work harder, hustle more, or get that investment that our vision will come to life. Instead, the result is burn out, anxiety, and a creativity block—every entrepreneur’s nightmare. Because of the chaotic environment of this life, entrepreneurs need to make sure that they are constantly renewing their mind.

So, how do we accomplish this? With the astronomical rise in mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression this is an important topic. It was during Focus Week at Grove City College, a week dedicated to learning, as a community, about mental health and how to combat it, that we learned in chapel about the need to act like a weaned child.  We must keep ourselves away from our pride and obsessive desire to be the best. When we accept the fact that our work reflects God, we learn to trust in Him and allow Him to guide the project, whether that be growth or failure. The word of God speaks of the importance of rest. Maybe your computer suddenly shutting off is a good thing; The Lord may be giving you a nudge to take a break, spend time with Him, and remember why you are doing all this work in the first place. Maybe your angel investor backed out because God wants to redirect you on a path toward something that will further his kingdom in a greater way? As Christian entrepreneurs, we must learn that we serve God and not ourselves.

I am excited to be a part of a mindset of laying ourselves down as humble servants of the one who created all things

A lot of emotions circulate within us in the business world, and that’s why redemptive entrepreneurship is so important. We have hope in the belief that the Lord will bring about restoration to all in this earth, and that compels us to go out and create. Instead of focusing on how much money we can make, the brand we can build, and the glory that will come to our name, I am excited to be a part of a mindset of laying ourselves down as humble servants of the one who created all things. No longer is that momentous pressure on us, and in this, we can find peace that our work is a partnership with the God of the universe.

As an ambitious person who has struggled with anxiety, I certainly understand how easy it is to forget to take care of yourself. I always want to be the first to hand in an assignment, the fastest at coming up with a solution, and the best in whatever I do. However, I’m learning that the way to be the best does not always mean you are working until you want to pass out. You work on something that you are passionate about that God has placed on your heart. My mental illness journey is quite messy, but it has inspired me to launch a venture that is dedicated to good mental health, joy, and God’s role in it all. So, if you are interested in this topic, feel free to check me out in VentureLab this upcoming semester. I have worked very hard to develop my business, but I have learned throughout the process that I find rest, peace, and motivation from my creator. I hope this is something that you can learn too.

To get some tips on how to manage time and energy in the midst of a lot of chaos, check out this article in the Praxis Journal.